Good entertainment across all media often finds something to say about the issues of the day, or about themes that are resonant across all of humanity. This is a quality that characterized across the most popular literature, theater, film, and even TV, of all times.
Even video games are beginning to comment on issues- this year alone, we received Persona 5, which was a cutting (if not always effective) social commentary on the state of things. However, in spite of the subject matter of Detroit: Become Human, which seems to be a thinly veiled political allegory, director David Cage insists that the game remains just that, a game- entertainment that he does not want to use as a springboard to comment on the larger issues of the day.
“For me, there was no way I wanted to use existing issues in a game that is still entertainment, no matter how much passion and honesty we put into it, it’s still just a game,” Cage said in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine UK. “There are some very serious things happening and we didn’t want to ‘use’ them, so we had many conversations about that.”
“Dealing with this kind of subject matter, where we deal with violence… I just wanted to make sure that whatever we do in Detroit: Become Human, there is no ambiguity and our meaning is absolutely clear,” he adds.
It sounds to me a bit disappointing, especially since Cage is a game maker with aspirations for his game to be treated as art, or with the same nuance as film often is (in fact, his games mimic film as often as they can). That said, at the very least he has set the expectations (and the record) straight beforehand- this way, people can’t go looking for something in the game, or if they do, he can disclaim all responsibility. Especially after his public statements went awry at E3, this was probably important for him to do.
Detroit: Become Human launches on the PS4 exclusively in 2018.